BRADENTON — Manatee County commissioners heard from one resident Tuesday during the second of two required public hearings before voting 6-1 to approve a $510 million budget.
The commission unanimously kept the property tax rate for the operating budget at last year’s level of $6.2993 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Those decisions allow the county to operate from October to September 2010 without a tax rate increase.
Commissioner Donna Hayes voted against approving the budget.
The Rev. Thomas Spikes spoke at the public hearing, asking the commission if there was enough money in the budget to take care of a crisis. He referred to the slayings of six teenagers this year in the county, two in the past six weeks.
“I support a midnight curfew,” Spikes said, “and the use of police sniffing dogs for contraband and guns in the schools.”
He also said something has to be done about children younger than 18 being in nightclubs.
The budget contains $103.5 million for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
With the millage rate steady, the owner of a home assessed at $175,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay $944.90 as the county portion of property taxes.
Homeowners in the unincorporated parts of the county would also have to pay an additional $19.64 for the Municipal Service Tax Unit and $16.35 for the debt service of a voter-approved bond issue.
Hayes said after the meeting she voted to reject the budget because it should have included another $1 million in funding for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and also because it included a $50,000 appropriation for the Anna Maria Island Trolley.
“I do not support a free trolley service on the island for $50,000 during these hard economic times,” Hayes said. “Also, there is no provision for transit service to Lakewood Ranch.”
During the three-month-long budget process, the commissioner, whose district includes much of the eastern portion of the county, voiced concerns over the lack of bus service to the Lakewood Ranch area.
She said it would help promote jobs, and the residents were willing to pay for the service, unlike the free government handout the islands receive.
Peggy Curtain, with the county finance department, presented the commissioners with a slide presentation showing where the revenue was coming from and what the funds were spent for.
About 37 percent, or $186.6 million, of the revenue comes from property tax, another 51 percent, or about $263.6 million, is from service fees, licenses and permits, with another $60 million received from state and federal sources and other taxes.